Wisconsin Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett has a lot of numbers, and it’s all good.
“We have great news to report, and that is, Wisconsin Tourism is up $700 million from 2012 to 2013. So that’s a 4 percent increase. Our total visitor spending was $17.5 billion.”
Visitor growth last year was the fastest since 2010. A new study finds visits to the Badger State increased 3.5 percent in 2013 to more than 100 million.
Klett says Wisconsin attracts tourists from other states and across the globe, but many big spenders are right here in our own back yard. “Fifty-one percent of people who vacation in Wisconsin are from Wisconsin … and then 49 percent are coming from all across the world, literally.”
AUDIO: Klett explains how Wisconsin benefits from free publicity. :35
In order to make money, one has to spend money, that’s called a return on investment. For every $1 the agency spent on advertising last fall and summer, $6 was returned to the state in the form of tax revenue.
With a little creativity, advertising can be free. It’s called “earned media.” Klett explains, by reuniting the cast of airplane for the summer ad campaign, the state earned a lot of free publicity.
“Our earned media for that was $35 million. Our marketing budget is just $12.5 million. So, in 2013, we had $70 million of earned media when the average state gets $17 million.”
That commercial is scheduled to begin airing on TV the week of May 12th .
Wisconsin tourism supports nearly 185,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in personal income. Visitors generated $1.35 billion in state and local revenue last year, and $1 billion in federal taxes. Each household in Wisconsin would need to be taxed an extra $590 a year to replace those tourism taxes.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:14